Amazon may start fining sellers for using ridiculously huge boxes

The e-commerce giant wants to cut down on waste and shipping costs.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
Amazon shipping box on a conveyor belt

Bulky boxes, your days may be numbered. 

Getty Images

Amazon wants to make massive, hard-to-open boxes a thing of the past. Last fall, the e-commerce giant asked companies to make packaging for larger items more efficient and easier to open. If companies don't comply, they'll be charged a penalty, according to a Tuesday report by The Wall Street Journal. Amazon said Wednesday that it extended the deadline from Aug. 1 to Sept. 3.

The changes Amazon hopes to roll out would make packages more environmentally friendly and cut back on shipping costs. Amazon wants all items to eventually meet similar standards. 

Companies that don't meet the guidelines of the so-called Frustration-Free Packaging Vendor Incentive Program would face a "chargeback" rather than a fine, Amazon said, though it didn't explain the difference.

Vendors told the Journal they reduced the volume of their packaging anywhere from 34% to 80%. Some also cut down on the number of components used to ship their products. 

As Amazon continues to grow and ship more products, it's pushing to be more efficient with packaging. Last year, the company said it asked manufacturers to cut extra space and materials in packaging to bring down shipping time and costs, according to the Journal. 

Amazon's sustainable packaging initiatives over the last decade have cut more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials, the company said, and it's been working with vendors to create more sustainable packaging.

Watch this: Amazon's drones and robots want to take over your deliveries

This Amazon site handles your biggest, bulkiest purchases

See all photos

Originally published July 30.
Update, July 31: Adds comment from Amazon.